It’s not what you think though. I didn’t tell someone Pea was sick to get out of work. I didn’t tell a cop my daughter was in distress to get out of a speeding ticket. I didn’t get her to vacuum our house with her popper.
I used my daughter as an ice-breaker, to get to know someone at my new job. To make a friend, if you will.
Starting fresh anywhere is a tough thing to do. But having something in common certainly helps make things easier. In the awkward moments when people stop by my cubicle to sheepishly ask me questions about myself (without seeming nosy), the “I have a daughter” declaration definitely makes everyone more comfortable.
Instantly, there are a whole slew of questions to ask…
What’s her name? How old is she? What’s she like? Is she talking yet? And so on.
As an added bonus, the revelation that I am a Dad seems to break a whole lot of ice too. Perhaps not the mere fact that I have a daughter. Although the choice to be a parent certainly says a lot about a person.
It’s more the way I talk about my daughter.
You see, I’m a gusher. If someone asks about her, I go off. (But only if they ask, because I think many people who don’t have or don’t care for kids are immediately set-off by someone who goes on an on about their kid. I get that not everyone is into my child. I was like that just a couple of years ago.)
When I gush, I’m usually very honest, about our triumphs and our challenges So I think it makes people even more comfortable to know that I am a realistic Dad.
When a new colleague stopped by today, we ended up unexpectedly talking about our little ones for a good 20 minutes. I know more about her daughter, and the way she talks about her family reveals a lot about her too.
So the next time I need some support from this new colleague, things will be a little easier. And I’ll have Pea to thank.
And sadly, I can now add baby user to my list of ‘accomplishments’ as a Dad.